Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Area Code 615 “A Trip In The Country”

Area Code 615

A Trip In The Country
( LP Polydor Records, 1970 )
Catalog # Polydor 244025

02.Always the Same
03.Stone Fox Chase
04.Russian Red
06.Gray Suit Men
07.Katy Hill
10.Welephant Walk
11.Devil Weed and Me

On its second album, the Nashville professional musician supergroup Area Code 615 took the opportunity to stretch out and try some really far-out things. While still nominally country, this has more in common with the freewheeling psychedelic rock and sunshine pop of 1970 than what was coming out of Nashville. Given the fuzz tones, light funk vamps, trippy interludes, and random outbursts of heavy guitars, it’s little wonder that Area Code 615 was appealing to hippies, not rednecks, but even among those hippies the group was a cult item; a two-night stint at the Fillmore West did not spur the band’s debut into greater record sales, and A Trip in the Country didn’t even chart. Perhaps that’s because they didn’t cover any obvious material here. Where the first record had three Beatles tunes and numbers by Dylan and Otis Redding, this relies on new songs and a couple of bluegrass and folk songs that sound unrecognizable; Bill Monroe’s “Scotland” has its boundaries blown wide open, and the result is a serious head trip. But perhaps the best-known item here is “Stone Fox Chase,” whose stuttering refrain ¡X performed by harmonica player extraordinaire Charlie McCoy ¡X became the theme song for the BBC’s fantastic music program The Old Grey Whistle Test. That tune also illustrates the nature of this band: It’s a musician’s band, the work of exceptional players whose skills are best appreciated by other players. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some extraordinary playing here, since there is (although the debut is a better place to just hear the band play, since this relies more on the structure than the solo), but only fellow musicians will find this more than a semi-interesting period piece.
From AMG

By Celo

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